Outdoors NSW & ACT Industry Summit 2023

The staff at Outward Bound love an opportunity to connect with the outdoor industry, network, collaborate, learn, and share our passion for the natural world and outdoor education. Recently, several of our staff were fortunate to attend the Outdoors NSW & ACT Biennial Outdoor Industry Summit held in beautiful Lennox Heads.

“The benefit of going to a conference such as the outdoors NSW & ACT conference is the ability to see what is happening in the industry and what problems on all levels people and governing bodies are trying to work through. It is also a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded people and look at our industry in several different lenses as there was such a wide variety of people from different companies and organizations who attended the conference.” (Adele Lamb – Campus Program Coordinator)

“Having the opportunity to attend the Outdoors NSW & ACT Conference helped me gain a broader perspective of our industry. I enjoyed meeting some of our suppliers and people from other companies. Overall, I can say that I learned a lot about the current state of our industry and even gained some knowledge about our customers and participants from data throughout some of the presentations. I’d totally go to the next one!” (Mike Burrows – Logistics Coordinator)

The Summit was a great opportunity to re-connect with some familiar faces, as well as meet a whole lot of new people. The networking opportunities and engaging conversations with colleagues was a highlight for most, especially within an industry that is so diverse and widespread.

“There were some outstanding speakers and presentations at the Summit, with key highlights from Mark McCrindle on how the world is changing with generational differences, through to leading climatologist, Felicity Gamble, on what to expect from the weather in the next 3-6 months in face of an ever-changing climate.” (Ben Lovell – Head of Partnerships & Development)

A central theme focused on during the Summit were the continued key challenges facing the sector as a whole, in particular:

    • Lack of suitably qualified staff
    • Access to venues to run programs because of closures or bureaucracy.
    • Lack of advocacy at the highest levels to get our message across to decision-makers due to a fragmented industry.
    • Skills shortage and qualification confusion
    • Lack of funding
    • The climate crisis severely disrupting our industry.

The good news is that we have an important role to play, particularly with young people. A lovely quote from Lincoln Barrett sums it up well; “We provide authentic and impactful experiences to provide transformational change”.

Touching on the disruption that the climate crisis continues to have on the industry, the National Centre for Outdoor Risk & Readiness‘ Project Manager Nicky Hanson shared a key learning from her time spent at the Summit, “There is definitely an appetite in the outdoor sector to do what they can to mitigate & respond to climate change”.

NatCORR’s development comes at a crucial time. Now more than ever, the industry is undoubtably beginning to feel both the short-term and long-term effects of our rapidly changing climate. NatCORR aims to help businesses, practitioners, and leaders in the outdoor industry to:

  • Build capacity & capability;
  • Predict, prepare for, mitigate & respond to events;
  • Learn & adapt to become more resilient & safer in the face of a changing climate.

To learn more about NatCORR and its mission, check out their website here.

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